Proliferating Guidelines

Amy K. Weiss


Cataloging rules for computer-based materials were first introduced in the 1970s, and since then have undergone almost continuous modification and revision. This article focuses on analysis and comparison of the various codes and guidelines for practice issued for what are now called electronic resources. Creation of new cataloging rules has been spurred by introduction of new physical carriers, the preeminence of materials accessed remotely versus those with physical carriers, the need for guidance in cataloging specific instances of computer-based materials, and the evolution of the theoretical concerns underlying the cataloging codes. Based on this history of constant change, it is easy to predict many more changes in the cataloging standards for computer-based materials in the future. However, continuous changes in the cataloging rules may have produced as much confusion as clarity for working catalogers. Caution should be exercised in the creation of new rules and standards for cataloging electronic resources, as it is possible that older rules and standards may, in fact, be readily adapted to new types of electronic resources.

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